Dateline: Los Angeles, California. October 1989. The L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Four Nights. Rolling Stones "Steel Wheels" tour.
That was the last time I saw the Rolling Stones perform in concert. I remember leaving the stadium more than a little disappointed. Sure, they sang a lot of the songs you wanted to hear and yes the stage show was spectacular; but as I walked out, I kept thinking these guys sound and look old. I figured the Stones were on their last legs as a touring band. What did I know.
It's almost thirty years since that night in Los Angeles. Not only are the Rolling Stones still actively touring, they're better and with more energy than they had in 1989. There have been some changes. Bill Wyman left the band more than twenty-five years ago. Saxophonist Bobby Keys died in 2014. The main characters remain the same.
Charlie Watts is now seventy-eight years old. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are seventy-five. Ronnie Wood is the baby of the band at age seventy-two. You would think more than five decades on the road would take it's toll. Yet these guys seem younger and are more active than ever. I have no idea how they do this. If anyone knows, let me in on their secret.
Jagger had heart valve surgery in April. Less than three months later, he's ready to start the latest tour. The real fountain of youth must be in his backyard.
The "No Filter" tour begins tomorrow night, in Chicago. One thing that won't change much is the music. There will be a few tweaks from past set lists, but you can be pretty sure you'll hear almost all of their classic tunes. These guys aren't dumb. They know what their fans want to hear. It's keeps us coming back for more and also puts the big bucks in their pocket. Win/Win!
Expect to hear a combination of "Brown Sugar", "Gimme Shelter", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and many more. Mick Jagger once said he would rather be dead than singing "Satisfaction' at forty. He then moved that up to forty-five. On Friday night, I can almost guarantee you, he'll be singing "Satisfaction" at age seventy-five.
None of us would have guessed any of this when we heard the Rolling Stones for the first time, in 1964. Life does take strange turns. Mick might not be getting any satisfaction, but for the rest of us...if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.
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